Introduction to World Geography


Geography is not simply about states and capitals, or countries and capitals, or knowing the trivia of “what river is the world’s longest,” or, “what desert is the world’s driest?”

Yes, there are those elements, but geography is a far more rich and far more diverse and far more complicated discipline than you might imagine.

The world is becoming amazingly connected at an ever-increasing pace. Technology brings people from across the globe together in new and dynamic ways. Smartphones can help an artisan in Viet Nam find a market for her pots in China or North America. Multinational companies spatially organize themselves to avail themselves to cheap labor, vast production capabilities, technological know-how, and consumer markets.

No longer is the idea of being isolated, insular, or closed reasonable or rational. Human society has become too interconnected and interrelated for countries to consider walling themselves against outside influences. The Civil War in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, half a world away, may not seem important to United States citizens – until we realize that the natural resources being fought over are the same resources that our iPhones, Blackberrys, iPads, Droids and laptops require, and that our desire for those devices fuel the demand for precious metals found in central Africa, and thus fuel conflict.

In essence, your cell phone contract contributes to controversy half-a-world away. Or, the purchase of a diamond engagement ring. Or, the purchase of new Nike running shoes. Or, that sparkly bag you bought at Wal-mart.

On these pages, my intention is to educate regarding the new geographies at work in our world. While many traditional forces of language, religion, ethnicity are still in play, many other forces such as globalization, information technology, and geolocation are evolving the language and science with which people around the world interact. New forces are understood by few people, and old influences, old biases continue to challenge people around the world.

My hopes are those visitors that entertain this site will leave with a better understanding of geographic complexities at work in human society.

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